2012 Chevrolet Volt: Review

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Most readers of Automoblog will be familiar with the issues that have been in the media surrounding the Chevy Volt. The Volt has been hampered by a number of issues, including customer confusion over its gas-and-electric technology and a government investigation into post-crash-test fires, which ultimately vindicated the car.

For 2012, Chevrolet has added structural enhancements to the Volt to reduce the risk of battery damage in an impact. Seldom mentioned is that the fires occurred two days or more after the Volts were crashed, and after the cars had been left sitting without the post-crash storage steps recommended by Chevrolet.

The most recent issue involved General Motors announcing it was replacing the cord and charging device that lets owners charge the car from a 120-volt household outlet.  Some Volt owners have complained that their 120-volt charger “overheats during use and have even documented online videos of melted 120-volt chargers.” But Consumer Reports has said it has not had the problem in its testing of the car, and even put the Volt on its “recommended” list.

Chevy Volt rear

When you take away all the negative news, the 2012 Chevrolet Volt is an impressive engineering achievement. When the car made its debut, much of the general public and media assumed the Volt was a pure electric car. But that is a total misconception. The Volt is essentially a plug-in hybrid, and will run much faster and farther under electric power only, than a normal hybrid vehicle. In the Volt’s case, this means up to 100 mph and anywhere from 25-50 miles without using any gasoline. This gives many commuter’s the ability to drive to work and back, plug in the Volt when they get home, and essentially never need to buy gas.

The Volt is a four-door, four-seat hatchback that is laid out with two bucket seats in front, two in the rear and a center console running the full length of the cabin. The Volt feels quite roomy in front, and the front buckets are handsome and some of GM’s best seats ever. The Volt’s hatchback design allows for convenient loading of cargo, and with the rear seats folded flat, cargo capacity is increased.

Chevy Volt

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt accelerates quickly from a stop light and once up to speed it is quick and responsive. The Volt has the kind of performance that is very typical of electric vehicles and offers a sporty driving experience. The placement of its battery pack creates a lower center of gravity than that in most sedans, and gives the Volt a sure-footedness in tight corners.

The electric Chevrolet Volt will give most drivers a pleasant surprise with its quiet smooth operation and quick acceleration. But be ready for some sticker shock because the Volt is expensive compared to conventionally powered compacts, especially before government tax credits. A standard Volt has an MSRP of $39,145, and even with a $7,500 federal tax credit, a base Volt will still cost about $31,500.

As you can see, how far you routinely drive would be a huge factor in determining how thrifty the Volt would be for you. Most urban owners will be able to take advantage of its electric range and use very little fuel. And electricity costs for recharging are but a fraction for the equivalent amount of gasoline.

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Chevy Volt

About The Author

Denis Flierl has over twenty five years combined auto industry and automotive journalism experience that he brings to Automoblog readers. Over the thirteen years that he owned an automotive business, he worked directly with every major car brand in the auto industry and became familiar with all makes and models of cars. His passion for cars led him to spend the last twelve years in automotive journalism where he brings all that experience to his readers as he writes about the auto industry and the latest test cars he drives.

6 Comments on "2012 Chevrolet Volt: Review"

  1. c lin

    http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/overview/energy_sources.html

    I hope the Volt succeeds with its revolutionary engineering/technology. 75% of Americans have a daily work commute roundtrip <25 miles, which the Volt can cover in a single charge. Electricity is energy that is almost completely domestically produced, unlike gasoline from crude oil. And this electricity comes from multiple sources, including natural gas, hydro, and renewable. California's 2009 electricity source data above. 14% renewable and growing.

  2. Denis

    Thanks for your reply c lin. I also hope the Chevy Volt succeeds. We are going to see some exciting technology in the next few years. Thanks for reading!

  3. DF

    Just paid $39,000 for my fully loaded 2011 Volt that has a MSRP of 44,195 (Navigation, leather, premium stereo, backup camera, and red). The 2012 MSRP for a similar volt is about $46K. It only has 6 miles on it. I am driving 130 miles to get it.

    Dealerships in the country will give you good deals because it is a city car. The sales person admitted that there is no one out in East Texas that is interested in driving a Volt. At $29,000 after tax credit and $2,500 in GM credit card rebate dollars, it is cheaper than a Prius that is fully loaded.

    I am having to wait for delivery because they still haven’t put in the battery pack strengthening from the recall. I hope to have it by the end of this week. I love the care. Sporty and quiet. It is much better looking than the doodle bug look of the Prius, and much more fun to driver.

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